Chapter 4: New Feelings

Bryce remained in Edison's apartment while the reporter was at work. He linked to his home terminal and began working on the project he had set himself for the week. But as he sat there amidst Edison's personal belongings and near the unmade bed, he found himself unable to concentrate. He decided to tidy up a little, hoping that would take his mind off things. Edison was clearly not the neatest person in the world. But his habits weren't too bad. There was a little laundry that needed to be put in the hamper, and the coffee cup he'd drank from that morning needed to be washed. But other than that, and making the bed, Bryce had nothing to do.

"Maybe I just need a nap," he remarked to himself. "Oh, wonderful. I'm talking to myself. There's a good sign. Yeah. I definitely need a nap. I'm overtired from all the stuff that's been happening to me."

He curled up on the newly made bed and closed his eyes. He could smell the slight scent of Edison's shampoo, cologne and sweat on the pillow and found he could not repress a sigh of contentment.

~What the hell is wrong with me?~ he thought to himself. ~Why am I being so damned wistful? This is not the way I was taught to behave or … feel?~

After a while, he fell asleep. And for the first time since he could remember, he dreamed. He had always been able to stave off the strange nocturnal journeys that invaded the minds of others as they slept. But this time, the pull was too strong. He found himself back on the beach he had seen in the electronic fantasy that Zik Zak had provided through their Neurostim bracelets. But this time the girl he'd been shown was gone as was the picnic table. He was simply standing on the shoreline in the arms of Edison Carter who was holding him in a warm and comforting embrace. After what seemed like forever, Edison tilted Bryce's head up and bent to kiss him...

Bryce was awakened by the ring of the vu-phone. He scrambled out of the bed and sat down to answer it. "Oh, hi Edison."

"Taking a nap?" Edison said, smiling.

"Yeah. Needed one," Bryce said simply. He was not about to tell Edison about the dream he'd just had. That was just too weird.

"I just called to see how you're doing," Edison told him. "Do you want to grab something for dinner tonight after I get out of work? I know I don't have a lot to eat and I don't feel like grocery shopping."

"I'd love to!" Bryce said, a little too enthusiastically. Then calming himself he said "I mean, that sounds great."

In the Control Room at Network 23, Theora, who couldn't help hearing the conversation smiled a bit at Bryce's reaction to Edison's invitation.

~Like a schoolgirl getting her first date,~ she thought to herself. ~Though I know Edison doesn't intend it that way.~

Edison disconnected the call, then turned to Theora, seeing her mischievous smirk. "What?"

"You know perfectly well what," Theora told him. "You saw the look in his eyes when you asked him out."

"For Heaven's sake, Theora," Edison exclaimed. "It's a friendly dinner, not a date!"

"I wonder how Bryce feels about it?"

"Knowing Bryce, I'm sure he feels the same way. It's just two friends going out because at least one of them is too lazy to cook or go grocery shopping."

In Edison's apartment, however, Bryce wondered why his heart was racing so much.

"Calm down, " he told himself. "Just calm down. You're just going out for a friendly dinner. That's all. Edison said himself that its because he doesn't feel like shopping. You're just feeling this way because of that crazy dream. Okay… so why did I have that dream? I've worked with Edison for almost four months now. But I did spend all of last night sleeping in his arms. No. That's silly. Why would that affect me? I was in his arms at Security Systems and I didn't feel like this. Yes, that's true. But I was in danger of freezing to death at the time. This time the danger was past. I wonder if this has something to do with whatever it is that Edison wouldn't talk to me about earlier?"

He went into the System and began doing a little research.

Max popped up onto the screen. "Whatcha lookin' for?"

"Personal stuff," Bryce told him. "I want to know why I can't stop thinking about Edison And why I'm feeling this… whatever I'm feeling."

"Love?" Max suggested.

"Don't be silly," Bryce scoffed. "Edison's a guy. Guys don't fall in love with each other."

"They do sometimes," Max told him.

"Are you serious?" Bryce asked. "I didn't know that."

"It's called homosexuality. And if you like both guys and gals then it's called bisexuality." Max explained. "Some people are against it, but I personally don't see anything wrong with being gay as it's called. So obviously neither does Edison. I should warn you, however, that Edison's what people call a confirmed hetero, so I'm afraid you're feelings are going to remain unrequited."

"Figures," Bryce muttered. "Thanks for the data, Max."

"Of course," Max said, hearing the disappointment in Bryce's voice, "it's not unheard of for a confirmed hetero that develop romantic feelings for a member of their own sex if there is another type of strong emotional bond already in place."

Bryce brightened a little at this and decided to try to get back to work until it was time for Edison to come home.

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